The world of vitamins can be a confusing one. A, B2, B3, B12, C, K if this alphabet has your head swimming, you may need some vitamin guidance. Which ones are essential to staying healthy? What do they do, and where do they come from? Should you buy expensive face creams and supplements for your daily dose of vitamin (insert letter here)?
The truth is, most vitamins are found in whole foods, and suggested daily amounts can be reached with the proper diet. These five vitamins are particularly essential to keeping you looking and feeling young and healthy:
This super-star antioxidant will boost your immune system and rejuvenate your cells. It’s an anti-inflammatory and helps to fight free radicals- unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause illness and aging. Vitamin E replenishes your body from the inside out, protecting cell membranes and preventing damages to crucial enzymes. Nuts and seeds are a great source of vitamin E. Try sprinkling whole or sliced almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds on your salads or morning cereal. Or supplement your diet with the concentrated versions found as sunflower oil, flax oil, or wheat germ oil.
This vitamin is a dream for your skin and can help prevent common aging woes like brown spots and wrinkles, as it helps slow the breakdown of collagen. But vegetarians be aware; retinol, or vitamin A1, is only found in animal-sourced foods like cheese, liver, butter, and fish. But plant-based foods provide their own anti-aging boost through provitamins beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, which help your body to produce vitamin A. To get these provitamins, try adding roasted squash or sweet potato, leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, and collard greens, or fruits like mango, cantaloupe, and grapefruit to your diet.
Everyone knows to drink orange juice when you’re sick since it’s packed with the immune-boosting vitamin C. But does it actually help? It turns out, there is some fact behind that old wives tale! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens your body’s natural defenses and can help prevent common illnesses and chronic diseases. It may also repair and regenerate tissues, lower blood pressure levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and increase your iron absorption. You may be surprised to learn that oranges are not the best whole food source of vitamin C. Papaya, strawberries, and pineapple actually have more vitamin C per serving, as do certain veggies, like chili peppers, red and green bell peppers, kale, and broccoli.
You can’t have a strong body without a strong foundation, so it’s important to keep our bones and joints healthy with proper diet. We know calcium is essential to prevent osteoporosis and other bone issues, but did you know that vitamin D can play a big role in bone health as well? It helps the body to absorb and maintain calcium, while also regulating cell growth, which may, in turn, prevent cancer. While vitamin D synthesis occurs with sun exposure, you may not be getting enough if you don’t spend much time outdoors or slather on the sunscreen when you do (it’s a catch 22, because you should definitely be wearing sunscreen). Many people get their vitamin D through fortified foods like milk and cereal, and it appears naturally in many types fish.
Mom always told you to eat your broccoli, and boy was she right. It contains loads of the essential vitamin magnesium! Many other greens, as well as legumes and whole-wheat bread, are also magnesium-loaded. Magnesium is another key player in calcium absorption for strong bones. It is vital for the proper functioning of hundreds of enzymes and helps to regulate blood pressure for a healthy heart. Research has also shown that a lack of magnesium can be linked to anxiety; so you can eat that broccoli knowing you’re helping both your mental and physical health.
Please consult your physician before beginning a vitamin regimen.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. September is Healthy Aging Month.